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Sprawl matters: the evolution of fringe land, natural amenities and disposable income in a Mediterranean urban area

Luca Salvati (), Ioannis Gitas, Tullia Valeria Giacomo, Efthimia Saradakou and Margherita Carlucci
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Luca Salvati: Council for agricultural research and economics (CREA)
Ioannis Gitas: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Tullia Valeria Giacomo: University of Tuscia
Efthimia Saradakou: Hellenic Open University

Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, 2017, vol. 19, issue 2, 727-743

Abstract: Abstract We investigate the relationship between land-use changes (1987–2007) and the spatial distribution of the average declared income of resident population in a southern European metropolitan region (Athens, Greece) as a contribution to the analysis of suburbanization processes in the Mediterranean region. To demonstrate that urban expansion is accompanied with multiple modifications in the use of the surrounding non-urban land, we developed a computational approach based on spatial indexes of landscape configuration and proximity as a result of changes in the local socio-spatial structure. Diversity in the use of land surrounding built-up parcels in the Athens’ metropolitan region increased significantly between 1987 and 2007, reflecting a progressive fragmentation of the exurban landscape. The percentage of forests and (high-quality) natural land surrounding built-up parcels increased from 8.1 to 9.4 % between 1987 and 2007. The reverse pattern was observed for (low-quality) sparsely vegetated areas, declining from 65 to 47 %. Large built-up parcels were surrounded by a higher percentage of natural land than small parcels. The largest increase over time in forest and natural land surrounding built-up parcels was observed in municipalities with high per capita declared income, and the reverse pattern was observed for sparse vegetation. Our results demonstrate that scattered urban expansion determines a polarization in suburban areas with high-quality and low-quality natural amenities. Sprawl increases economic inequality and socio-spatial disparities contributing to a spatially unbalanced distribution of natural amenities with higher consumption of high-quality land.

Keywords: Exurban development; Spatial analysis; Socioeconomic disparities; Landscape; Mediterranean Europe (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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